Super Rugby Trans-Tasman Power Rankings Round 2

The opening round has been run and won, and while Australia recorded a collective 0-5 start to the season, it wasn't completely a lost cause.

Two of the three matches came down to the wire with the Force one kick away from victory, and the Brumbies from a draw in Christchurch. Really it was only the Rebels who were truly poor in Round 1, with the Waratahs stealing seven tries - although their defence was close to non-existent -- and the Reds looking weary following a six-day turnaround.

Some New Zealand franchises will be happy with their performances with the Blues making short work of the Rebels, while the Highlanders capitalised on home ground advantage against the Reds. The Crusaders and Chiefs meanwhile won't be too impressed with their great escapes, and the Hurricanes will be looking back at game tape with displeasure after letting in close to a half-century.

Although only one round in, there's been plenty of movers and shakers on our power rankings list, so read on to see where your team stacks up.

Across the five weeks, ESPN will rank all 10 teams, from top to bottom, taking into account which teams are playing the best rugby, injuries, each team's recent opponents, and which teams are looking most like title contenders.

Previous Rankings: Round 1

1. Crusaders

2021 record: 1-0

Previous rank: 1

The Crusaders have retained their place at the top of the Power Rankings despite narrowly avoiding a draw at the hands of the Brumbies. It's fair to say a few of the players came off the park breathing a sigh of relief after Noah Lolesio failed to convert the Brumbies' last-minute try. Richie Mo'unga was again the standout for his team, with some impeccable work with the ball. But the Crusaders won't be too happy they let the Brumbies within a sniff of a draw in the final 10 minutes and coughed up the all-important bonus point. The gap between the Crusaders and the chasing pack is certainly closing.

This week's opponents: Reds (Brisbane)


2. Blues

2021 record: 1-0

Previous rank: 3

In the only truly lopsided contest of the weekend, the Blues absolutely dismantled a poor Rebels side in Melbourne and in doing so earned a rise up the ladder. Making the Rebels defence look like Swiss cheese, the Blues found gaps all over the park and their offloading was like watching a hot potato get passed around. They out-muscled and out-enthused their hosts, while their scrum dominated from start to finish. Notching up a half-century was deserved but to concede just three points was remarkable.

This week's opposition: Waratahs (Eden Park)


3. Brumbies

2021 record: 0-1

Previous rank: 4

Yes, the Brumbies lost, but their perseverance and Tom Banks' try alone were impressive enough to have them rise over the Reds and move into third position. Written off well before they arrived in Christchurch, the Brumbies had a tall task kicking the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman season off against the reigning Aotearoa champions just a week after losing their own final, but they made the Crusaders pay for their scratchy performance, clawing their way back from a 31-17 deficit with minutes remaining.

This week's opposition: Chiefs (Hamilton)


4. Reds

2021 record: 0-1

Previous rank: 2

The glow of a Super Rugby AU title dimmed very quickly last Friday night when the Reds let in a try within the first minute. Tired and depleted, several big names missed the match through injury and another three came off the pine, flying to Dunedin and backing up just six days after their final, was always going to be a tough proposition. Suliasi Vunivalu's double on return was perhaps the side's highlight. He'll no doubt need to make an impression against the Crusaders in Round 2.

This week's opposition: Crusaders (Suncorp)


5. Chiefs

2021 record: 1-0

Previous rank: 5

Plenty of Chiefs players would have been holding their breath as Domingo Miotti failed to convert the match winning extras on Saturday night. But claiming a victory, on the road, a week after a bruising SR Aotearoa final, has seen them keep their place on the ladder. Conceding 19 penalties and three yellow cards (two to Luke Jacobson which became red) and still managing a win is an achievement, but similar discipline won't get them far against the Brumbies.

This week's opposition: Brumbies (Hamilton)


6. Western Force

2021 record: 0-1

Previous rank: 6

Who'd have thought the Force would be one of the two Aussie teams to get so close to downing their Kiwi rivals? Especially considering they hadn't played any Trans-Tasman opposition since their exit from Super Rugby in 2017. Always tough to beat at home, the Force gave the Chiefs a run for their money, especially in the final quarter. If only Miotti's conversation had swung to the left instead of the right.

This week's opposition: Highlanders (Perth)


7. Highlanders

2021 record: 1-0

Previous rank: 8

The Highlanders did exactly what was needed of them on Friday night when they took down a depleted Reds outfit and took home the all-important bonus point to boot. Missing plenty of their own firepower, the Landers began strongly and made light work of a tired Reds outfit. Whether they can do the same on the road is another question, but they will be high on confidence after their round 1 performance.

This week's opposition: Force (Perth)


8. Hurricanes

2021 record: 1-0

Previous rank: 7

It was the perfect setting to put on a cricket score as the Hurricanes ran all over the Waratahs, the NSW players little more than speedbumps on their way to the tryline. However, the Hurricanes' own defensive efforts left much to be desired, too. For a team that leaked no more than 35 points against Aotearoa opposition, conceding 48 to the Waratahs was very poor.

This week's opposition: Rebels (Melbourne)


9. Waratahs

2021 record: 0-1

Previous rank: 10

They may not have won, and they did let in 64 points, but the Waratahs attacking performance sees them leapfrog the Rebels. While their defence was next to non-existent - there were more than 30 missed tackles - the NSW set-piece was strong, their forward pack was firing and their backline flashed some razzle-dazzle.

This week's opposition: Blues (Auckland)


9. Rebels

2021 record: 0-1

Previous rank: 9

It's no surprise to anyone that the Rebels have found their way to the bottom. Conceding 50 points and scoring only a solitary penalty goal, they were truly outclassed by the Blues. The Rebels looked lost throughout most of the match and their scrum took an absolute belting. If they don't plug those gaps in defence, it could be a long few weeks.

This week's opposition: Hurricanes (Melbourne)